I wasn’t really surprised when NBC Nightly News reported food prices climbed 29% in 2010 and were expected to rise through 2011. As a weekly marketer, I’ve seen the climb first hand. I’ve stopped purchasing some items simply because it seems ridiculous to pay such a ghastly price for things like olives and certain cheeses.
With the news report still fresh on my mind, I was more grateful than ever for my habit of perimeter shopping. Perimeter shopping refers to shopping the perimeter of stores where the freshest items are displayed. Produce, deli, bakery, fresh fish and meats, cheese, yogurt and dairy items like eggs and sour cream are on the perimeter of a market. Not only are these foods the freshest in the store, but they’re healthier than items on store shelves. And they’re also perishable and are quickly marked down.
During today’s shopping trip I purchased fresh pizza dough in the deli for 59 cents and a container of fresh gorgonzola cheese for $1.99. Both items were originally marked $6.00 and are still in date until next week. I bought dented cans of tomatoes and corn from a discount cartfor 45 cents and found a box of premium cereal with a dent on the side for a buck seventy and I had a dollar coupon!
I also purchased veal tenderloins for 64 cents and fresh pork strips for a buck.
Recently I discussed marked down meat with the butcher at one of my stores. He explained the lights in stores cause meat to discolor and that discourages most people from purchasing it. Marked down items from the meat department are available early mornings at the small market I shop. Oddly, produce is rarely marked down and when it is …well…rotten!
I’m grateful in this era of rising food prices to be a smart and mindful shopper. Dollars simply don’t stretch as far as they once did and as the economy continues to be uncooperative to so many, savvy food shopping becomes an enviable skill! The perimeter of a market is a gold mine of fresh finds and healthful choices.